While many Australians have some life insurance through their superannuation, most fail to protect themselves against a temporary loss of income, putting their families’ financial security at risk.
Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the University of Melbourne highlight the number of Australians falling victim to long-term illnesses and injuries, potentially affecting their ability to earn an income.
That means Australians who fail to protect their incomes against temporary illness and injury could be putting their family’s financial security at risk.
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that thousands of Australians suffer from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, which could prevent them from working for weeks or even months. Australians are also at risk of being injured in an accident, forcing them to take time off work and potentially leading to a dramatic fall in income.
Analysis conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Melbourne showed that around 30% of respondents to the government’s long-term HILDA survey reported having a long-term health condition or disability that had lasted for six months or more and had restricted their everyday activities.1
This is a particularly serious issue for the increasing number of self-employed contractors, who may not be covered by Workers’ Compensation. And recent changes to Workers’ Compensation in Victoria and South Australia could leave thousands of workers unprotected when journeying to or from work or between jobs.
What are the odds?
According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011–122:
One million Australians reported having heart disease.
326,600 or 1.5% of Australians had cancer.
875,400 Australians said they had some type of diabetes.
Long-term health conditions like these can potentially lead people to spend long periods off work, creating genuine hardship for them and their families.
Added to this is the possibility of having an accident at home, on the road or at work. Research shows that 37% of all injuries happen at home, with 27% occurring during leisure time and 11% a result of playing sport. And, while it’s true that driving fatalities are decreasing, the risk of being seriously injured on our roads is actually on the rise, up from 138.3 per 100,000 to 156.7 per 100,000 people over a nine-year period.3
Then there’s the risk of experiencing a work-related injured or illness. In 2009–10, about 640,700 Australians got hurt or ill because of their work, with men more likely to suffer ill health or injury through work (55 per 1,000 men compared to 51 out of 1,000 women). And although almost 700,000 Australians are injured in work-related accidents each year, only 216,000 actually receive Worker’s Compensation benefits.4